Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, January 26, 2014, pg. 4
Albion supposedly has somewhere between 40 and 50 churches, depending upon where you draw the boundaries and what you include. With an official population of 8,616 persons and that number divided out amongst all our churches (40), that would come to 215 persons per church each Sunday. Does your church have that kind of attendance? If not, you are welcome to bring it up to that number without being accused of monopolizing our population.
Those same thoughts were in the minds of our church leaders a century ago, as they concocted a plan to fill the pews in Albion and, I suppose, sing hymns to the hymnless. Sunday, February 1, 1914 was national "Go-To-Church Sunday," and our local religious leaders chose wholeheartedly to participate. The Albion Recorder reported, "Sixty-six persons, working in pairs and representing the various local church congregations, spent two hours or more Sunday afternoon [January 25] in canvassing the city and distributing cards announcing the day. Practically every person in the community has been reached and it is safe to say that more people will go to church here next Sunday than on any previous Sabbath in the city’s history."
The February 1, 1914 event was a big success. The Recorder reported, "ALL ALBION WENT TO CHURCH SUNDAY. Every Church in City Filled to Doors Morning and Evening. The Everybody-go-to-church plan proved a big success, and every church in the city that held services Sunday held forth to a capacity house. It was estimated that at the morning service alone nearly 4,000 people, or half the local population, attended church. In several of the churches, noticeably the Methodist, it was necessary to bring chairs into the auditorium and to open up rooms adjacent to the main room to accommodate those who came. At no church however, was there anyone turned away on account of lack of seats. The pastors of the city made an especial appeal to non-church going people in their sermons, and a revival in Sunday attendance is expected as a result of the observance of the day." The Recorder also observed, "Albion was one of only a few cities in this part of the country to observe the day, and it is safe to say it was observed as effectively as in any town in the United States."
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a religious card that was distributed among our local residents in the early 20th century. This card did not make the pages of my latest book "Albion Postcards," but I thought it appropriate to illustrate it with this article in lieu of having the "go to church" leaflet that was mentioned earlier.
Early 20th century Religious Card
This card was distributed by the First Methodist Church on E. Erie St., the largest in town, and the special speaker for the April 26 event (year not given,) was Milton S. Rees. The sermon title was "The Reasons Found in Albion Why More Men Are Not Christians." The service also included the chorus choir which sang "The Great Welsh Hymn." (Can you guess the real title of that hymn?) The appeal on this card concluded with "Every Man in Albion and Vicinity should hear this Address."
Will you observe the 100th anniversary of go-to-church-Sunday in Albion next Sunday, February 2? Remember, only 215 persons per church, please.
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic